In just a few days, the international community will have a rare opportunity to give sharks, rays, and other marine species a measure of the protection they deserve. Early next week, the parties to CITES will decide whether to list the silky shark, all species of thresher sharks, all species of mobula rays, the bangaii cardinalfish, the clarion angelfish, and the nautilus. If successful, these listings will create serious legal obstacles to unchecked international trade — trade that is pushing these species to the brink. It’s not enough, but it’s a significant step in the right direction.
Last night, Sea Shepherd Legal held a panel discussion, calling for parties to do the right thing by supporting the proposals in favor of greater protections for marine species. Featuring a compelling presentation by a distinguished biologist and stirring endorsements by official delegates from Brazil and the Philippines, the event galvanized support ahead of next week’s critical votes.
The parties are informed. The world is watching. Should the CITES community fail to respond, they will have no excuses to offer. Parties: Do the right thing. Vote “yes.”